MOD is at a crossroads - and needs your input

I am not really blaming MOD here, but rather making the comparison with a real pedalboard where you can check directly which effect is engaged or not. I have a FCB1010 and the problem with the LEDs is that they reflect the state of the switch on the FCB1010, and in some instance may not actually be in sync with what is happening on the board (for instance if you apply a snapshot which changes the state of a pedal, it won’t be reflected on the controller). That’s one of the reason why I researched a way to customize the FCB1010 by replacing its guts with an arduino or a Pi in order to be able to get the states from the MOD device and adjust accordingly. But of course I never found the time to do it.


This has annoyed me since the being of Looperlative. It would be really nice to have a programmable MIDI controller that also can take input from the device controlling it to set LEDs or maybe even put messages on a screen. Alas, there is no profit in this. It is mostly just us loopers that want this.


Hi @redcloud

that’s a topic I wanted to address for a long time. Could you be a bit more specific about what you think is bad in the current plugins. I mean : I’ve never own a valve amp and don’t really have a base for comparison, but what is wrong with gxSuperSonic for instance ? Or other Guitarix amp. Is that that they don’t replicate a particular style of amp faithfully, or that it simple sounds “bad” to your ears. I think these are two quite different sort of issues. One is about replicating a physical device to the closest possible detail, the other is more about taste and aesthetic.

I’ve seen this argument a lot in previous discussions (that MOD sims are bad), and I would like to learn a bit more about it in more detail.


I don’t think that the plugins sound bad, more that they lack the dynamics that you would get with profiling or Neural based stuff that is in turn based on real hardware. I would highly recommend that you try a decent valve amp so that you can truly experience the magic!

1 Like

Hard to explain, you have to test two devices in A/B testing. The feeling of supersonic is less natural although it sounds good overall. It’s kinda “once you go black you’ll never go back” thing.


Maybe this is related?


Very interesting !

1 Like

I think this is something people haven’t understood. Developing a cheaper hardware platform requires, well development. That’s not an option right now.


well, i really liked the dwarf as a piece of hardware. It would fit my setup so well it hurts. And offered to pay the remaining store price to get one on the survey and a subscription.
If software is the only option, use a zynthian as a new base. How do you get new users to the platform? (I’m a newuser)


This is super subjective, so I can’t outright say that people who claim MOD is superior are “wrong”, but in my experience with the competing solutions (Helix, most of the VST amp sims available on the market, other cheaper multi-fx units, not to mention the analog pedals) it was mostly fine. Getting usable clean, low-gain tones wasn’t super hard. From a guitarist’s point of view, there was a major lack of plugins modeling the gear that guitar players care about (compared to the competition), and what was there, was often lacking in the UI/ease of use/documentation department.

From a music producer’s perspective… well, Dragonfly Reverb and AirWindows plugins were meaningful additions to the MOD platform. These are free plugins every beginner music producer had access to for years. That doesn’t make them bad - far from it, they are great. But they also highlight where the Dwarf’s “plugin ceiling” was, given the limitation of the LV2 format. And I don’t mean technical limitations, of course, I mean the comparatively smaller incentive to create new plugins (even compared to the more widespread free VST stuff). Plus, even with the limitation of the niche format, there are some open source plugins out there that would make MOD a lot more attractive, and every schmuck with an old Linux, or Windows laptop can download them right now (Chow’s stuff like the tape simulation or BYOD, a superior version of Guitarix, etc.) but MOD users, didn’t have access to and it wasn’t clear when or if they would.

I can’t take responsibility for how the ears of other people perceive sound waves, but even if we completely disregard the “sonic quality” of plugins, the experience with the MOD just felt… janky. That’s the word I was unable to shake when using and thinking about the Dwarf.

I don’t think I’ve ever had to dial in a plugin that offered parameters in the -64 to 62 range (going from memory cause the plugin website is down) before or since using the Dwarf. Seeing 0-127 - where one would expect “%” or “ms” or “Hz” or 1-10/1-100 - was pretty much a given (not unheard of in the world of plugins for obvious reasons, but not very common in polished ones). There was almost no documentation. Plugin descriptions seemed like an afterthought, felt random, and rarely useful (doubly frustrating for plugins with weird parameter names).

So @James @acunha I understand it may be frustrating to hear that if you only outfitted the Dwarf with a bunch of additional stuff, and if you only coded better amps than people at Line 6 who have a lot more resources, and if you only had 3 times bigger engineering team, and if you only add features A, B, and C to the product even though the company is insolvent and may never reboot, etc., etc. all would be well. That’s, of course, nonsense.

However, what I mentioned in the previous paragraph could be improved in a few months by a passionate non-technical intern. Or a copywriter guitar player without enough self-respect to ask for an actual living wage (I used to be one of those when I was young, I’m sure you can find lots more). Not really changing the parameter ranges of the plugins, I assume dev work would be required there, but going through all the plugins, pinpointing the “jank” that should be changed, writing better plugin descriptions, and perhaps selecting the plugins that are not quite good enough to be in the main plugin store yet. Small things like that would’ve made MOD seem a lot less, well, “janky”.

I work for a startup, I’m perfectly aware that even simple things are usually twice as expensive and take three times as long to implement as one initially assumes even without the random global calamities. That’s what makes the above so frustrating. I feel like without coding new groundbreaking plugins, without adding a lot of new content to the platform, MOD could’ve been a considerably better custodian of the open-source plugins that ended up on the platform. Technical shortcomings requiring a lot of time and resources aside, the curation and polish were also major issues, and if the reboot is successful, that’s the lowest hanging fruit to grab. I’m not saying this would guarantee success, but it’s the easy 5-10% quality bump (or a 20% for users allergic to the arbitrary inelegance of the 0-127 range) that should’ve been realized a long time ago.


For the record, these plugins you refer to are the rakarrack plugins. They were written as zynaddsybfx in 2002! I was still using dial up internet then! The reason for this parameter mapping was to make it convenient to map midi parameters (which are also limited to 0-127 range).

To your point, it doesn’t make sense 20 years later to have that same interface when we no longer have the same technological limitations. Sorry I let this sort of criticism get under my skin a bit.

However as I think about it more, I really think that 80% of people are preset users anyway. Rakarrack was rather popular for quite some time in linux audio, not because of it’s ease of use or curated high quality plugins, but because it came with over 100 presets that were pretty useable and fun to play with just by clicking the “next preset” button. I think if we want mod to be successful, we as a community should focus on quality pedalboards and making a “short list” of the best ones that we can make easy to find and get new users sold on. Yeah it would be great to have MOD hire some capable guitar guru like Andy Martin to design great boards, but right now that’s not looking especially likely. This is something that we as a community could work together on. I think if the highest level presets (pedalboards) are great, then people will be forgiving of some jankiness in the lower levels (which they may never even need to dig into).


Unfortunately this is another example of “just do this” where MOD was already working on exactly that but it just takes longer than everyone expects. There was a non technical intern who’s sole job was to write better documentation for plugins and make some basic presets to make some plugins more usable. It was working on a schedule of one plugin per week so not as fast as you think

I agree that 0-10 ranges (with float values between ie 0.01) make more sense for most plugins especially those aimed at guitars. It just takes time to make changes and it can’t be done just by the MOD team


gianfrancoMOD Father
I’m sorry to read about the difficulties The Mod team and you are experiencing. My thoughts are either choice 1) or 2). Any company starting out ran into trouble. There’s stories of Apple, Tesla, etc etc. Gian Franco, just keep the faith and press on, but make sure your moves are correct! You have a lot of people in the Mod community that believe in you and what you’re doing, myself included. All the best!! And keep the faith and press on!! :pray:t4:


And what I am trying to say, pardon me if I can’t but English is not my native language, is that those feature requests should have been top tier priority. Since the launch of the MOD Duo, in 2016 IIRC, other 2 devices have been put into production, not counting accessories, and still the GUI and pedalboard store is not satisfying to many. I see this as a bad mamagement issue. Resourced should have been put in sustaining and upgrading the ecosystem in order to maximise the sales of the existing devices before putting new ones in the production line.

So it seems that the company didn’t read correctly the needs and desires of the target customers. Again, maybe is should have been better to focus on upgrading the user experience overall in order to adapt to the market and get traction from that for the existing product line and sell more of those and get a name before risking in new hardware.

And if you allow something very nasty, the company greenlighted the whole Cardinal new features, that while extremely cool, they were not requested not expected by anyone.

So, for Cardinal you had the resources for development, making presentation videos and all, but you had no resources for improving the basic UX?

Not true. Zoom MS-100BT has had bluetooth on board since 2012. Ten years ago. Since the MOD is even more external interface dependant than that, I don’t agree that a wireless connection is “not a requirement for a minimum viable product” for the MOD.

The car in my example was the device. The handlebar/steering wheel the GUI. I personally have nothing to say about the hardware proper.

And here’s when I don’t think I’m getting it right, and I really need some explanations.

If you can’t fix the software issues me and others are pointing out (frankly I didn’t think so many to agree with me), if you can’t downgrade to a cheaper available hardware platform, then what ARE exactly the options available? People ARE giving suggestions and feedback - you asked for it - but maybe we’re not on the same page.

Are you just trying to find a way to go on with zero expenses? Honestly I don’t think it’s really feasible. Fixing something needs money. If you just resell the same product, it will probably fail again.

I can only speak for myself, but MOD devices were a good idea with some great flaws in the execution. I liked the concept and all, when I first found out of the Duo. Open source, great freedom in plugin connections, portable device… I was sold nearly instantaneously. Then I got the device and discovered all the issues I already reported ad nauseam and I told myself: the community is great, the dev team is nice, let’s wait and support them. Then the Dwarf kickstarter came out and I subscribed. In the meantime the software platform got better and better (I said that and I’ll keep saying it because it’s simply true) but still it’s IMHO not on par with the needs of a generic non tech user.

This PREVENTS me from using the devices the way I want. It’s not a “want to”. It’s a flaw I clenched my teeth the whole time I owned my device and tried to work around, I don’t know if I’ve been clear enough.

So what are you going to do? Reboot the company and reissue the same line of devices with the same software and hope for the better? Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m afraid It won’t work so easy.

Me myself, after buying a Duo and buying and not getting a Dwarf, I don’t really think think I’ll buy another product unless those basic UX issues are solved. Simply put I don’t have any more money, time and confidence to get that in a meaningful time. And what I fear, and I think you should fear, too, is that there could be many others that think that.


Sure it is, but we are all writing because we were explicitly asked too.

Not all of us have crystal magic balls, we are inevitably debating something that’s already happened.

1 Like

Er … this was done by @falkTX in his private time. Mind you he is also the lead developer of Cardinal, which is a private passion project. A lot of the extra functionality you see in MOD stems from such private passion projects. This was not paid for by MOD or done during MOD working hours in any way.

I haven’t seen any such “presentation videos and all”, can you point us to these? Afaik there is only a single topic about this plugin and again this is done by a private individual in their private time.


I don’t fully agree here.

Sure, the pandemic and it’s consequences are a very objective iceberg that got on the company path, that can’t be denied, but I do NOT think it’s the only cause of the disaster.

MOD Devices were not an unsinkable powerhouse like the Titanic. It was more of an already creaking ship the day it left port, and not only because of the fact that it was a small startup, but also IMHO because of the wrong resources management decisions it has been taking from the beginning.

So once it got the big obstacle, the disaster was unavoidable, while had been the situation more sound (not investing money and man time on too many other unnecessary fronts and concentrating on getting a larger user base with the Duo) it could have survived.


We were asked to give input on how to move forward, not to critique on all the things we think where done wrong (“mismanaged”) in the past.

All the suggestions you’ve given are either “20-20 hindsight” or completely unrealistic.

“you should have” is not useful critique. The past is the past and we want to move forward. None of your suggestions are pointing in that direction. It seems you just want to punch down instead of pushing up.


You’re right, I was wrong and I greatly apologize for that.

I wrote Cardinal when I was actually thinking at the guitar synth stuff.

Both of which are great stuff, by the way, but just not what I would call priority one in hard times.

1 Like

The fact that it was a relatively easy plugin to make (audio-to-cv-pitch) and this was a marketing opportunity to showcase a unique feature of the product (that has been requested by users in the past) while in the mean time the company was literally sitting on their hands waiting for suppliers and other third parties because of … you know covid and chip shortages … means it was actually time well spent imo.